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Full text of "Rapid Population Growth Consequences And Policy Implications"

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Migration and Representation. Another political effect of migration, particularly of internal migration, that has received a great deal of attention in the United States is the effect upon the system of representation. Since systems of representation were often created before large-scale internal population movements took place, many modern states have created new forms of "rotten boroughs." A formula established and institutionalized at one time to satisfy the existing distribution of population and power may no longer be satisfactory after an era of rapid population movements. Some state legislatures in the United States are still controlled by rural interests even though the states have become predominantly urban. The recent demand for reappor-tionment was essentially directed at changing the structure of representation to fit this new distribution of population. And while reapportionment is taking place, gross inequities in the allocation of state and federal funds to rural instead of urban areas still continue.
It is beyond the scope of this essay to set forth an agenda for research in political demography or to indicate the policies which might be derived from our current limited knowledge of the political effects of population change. Instead this conclusion will try to indicate some of the questions which political scientists could usefully ask and call attention to a few of the policy issues suggested by existing knowledge.
First of all, it should be emphasized that the effects of population growth are bound to be different in highly developed societies, in densely populated countries with low economic growth, in densely populated countries with high economic growth, and in countries with low density. The level of technological development, the existing population density, and the rate and pattern of economic growth will determine the effects of rapid population growth. Population growth, for example, may have no significant effect on the size of landholdings in a technologically developed society, but it may reduce the size of landholdings to uneconomic units in a densely populated society with low levels of technology; or it may result in the more efficient use of land in a region of low density where slash-and-burn agriculture is practiced. Similarly, a society with a high rate of economic growth may take in its stride the new demands for education, housing, and health facilities accompanying rapid population growth, whereas a government with few resources will be able to provide such facilities only by reducing its efforts to increase capital investment. And, as noted earlier, a rapid expansion of the 15-to-25 age group will have one political consequence if it occurs when the economy is expanding and there are employment opportunities for new entrants into the labor force and quite another consequence if it occurs in aak, Italian, and Serb migrants to the